Treasuring Emma is the first book in the Middlefield Family Novel written by Kathleen Fuller. Kathleen Fuller has written several Amish Fiction stories and I think you will truly find this book to be a treat. Treasuring Emma is a very heartwarming story about a young Amish girl named Emma who thought she had found the love of her life and best friend Adam. Much to Emma's surprise, Adam was not ready to settle down in the Amish culture and decides that he wants to experience the freedom of living out in the Englisch world. Adam leaves Emma very heartbroken and distraught. Emma finds herself in the beginning of the story having to deal with the death of her mother. She feels so completely helpless and empty inside. With her mother gone it left just Emma to take care of her Grandmother Leona. Emma has a sister named Clara who is married to a husband named Peter. They had three children of their own and lived in a little house not too far from Emma and Grandmother Leona. Clara has not always got along with her sister Emily.
After two years have went past Adam isn't too sure about the Englisch world and decides to visit the Amish community where he lived as a child. Adam finds himself wanting to hang out at Emily's family farm. How is Emily going to deal with seeing him knowing her true feelings about him. She decides that she must guard her feelings. When someone new arrives in town and shows great interest in Emma, she finds herself falling for this person. Will she be able to get over being heartbroken and distraught and seek new love? Adam tries to discourage her by telling her to not get involved and be become very cautious about the person's well being. Emma doesn't know how to deal with this attention that she is receiving from the newcomer and doesn't know quite how to accept it. Emma has always sacrificed herself to help others before doing things for herself. When will it be a good time for Emma to feel wanted and treasured? Will Adam be accepted back into the community if he confesses to the bishop his wrong doing. The book keeps you interested from the first page to the end. The author leaves you wanting to quickly go out and purchase the next book.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone. This book deserves a 5 out of 5 rating. I received this book from Thomas Nelson to give it an honest review whether it be positive or negative. I can't wait to read the next book in this series. Kathleen Fuller, keep writing Amish Fiction. You are a treasure yourself.
Several years ago, Adam Otto left his family and Amish community, breaking Emma Shetler's heart in the process. Emma never stopped grieving for Adam, and now the death of her mother has created more pain. Emma needs to find a way to support herself and her ailing grandmother, but she isn't convinced by her sister's idea to open a fabric shop in her grandfather's old workshop. But Emma doesn't know that Clara and her husband are struggling financially, especially now that their cousin, Mark, has come to live with them for an indefinite period of time.
Clara's marriage is experiencing difficulties, not only because her husband, Peter, has been out of work for nine months. The strain of having an extra person living in their house only seems to make things worse, especially as Mark's interest in her younger sister is making her realise what she's missing in her marriage. But someone else isn't too pleased with the attention Mark is paying to Emma - Adam Otto, Emma's first love.
Home on a visit from the English world, Adam can't help but keep running into Emma. Initially he just wants to help her and her grandmother get back on their feet, but when he realises that she's caught the attention of a newcomer to the community, he can't help but feel jealous. Or is it more than jealousy that he's feeling? Do all of Emma's friends have reason to feel uneasy about Mark's unexpected presence in their community?
Although I'm a devoted fan of Amish fiction, Treasuring Emma is the first full-length novel that I've read from Kathleen Fuller. I enjoyed reading a few of her novellas last year and hoped to experience more of the same with the first novel in the Middlefield Family series. The story of a young man returning to his Amish community and trying to win back his lost love is a fairly common one, but Kathleen adds a few twists to it by inserting a potentially dangerous love interest and exploring the relationship between Emma's married sister and her husband. The main storyline was still fairly predictable, but Kathleen's writing is very compelling and I found myself returning to the book whenever I had a spare moment. Even if Treasuring Emma isn't the most original Amish novel that I've come across recently, it certainly contains a lot of the key aspects that make this genre so popular.
Much like some of the other well-known authors in this genre (Shelley Shepard Gray, Mary Ellis, Amy Clipston) Kathleen explores multiple perspectives in Treasuring Emma. While following multiple characters often means that you connect with some of them more so than others over the course of the story, I appreciated being able to gain insight into the minds of Leona, Clara and Mark, as well as Emma and Adam. Leona's sections provided some encouraging insight into the grandmother's wisdom and deep faith, while Clara's allowed us to see the reasons why she was so pushy and overbearing with Emma at times. While I did eventually understand why Clara was such a difficult character, I still never felt like I completely sympathised with her. I'm not the sort of person who tries to take complete control over a problem and fix everything by myself, so I had trouble relating to her, although I'm sure her behaviour is typical of some women. I did find Mark's perspective quite interesting to begin with, and I was intrigued by the mystery that was built up in his initial sections of the novel. However, as the story progressed I found Mark to be a bit caricatured. His story wasn't entirely finished by the conclusion of Treasuring Emma, so I hope that the second book in the series provides more insight into his backstory and what made him into the kind of person he was in Treasuring Emma. While I appreciated the suspense that his character provided, his villainous nature felt a little over the top in places, particularly as we had little insight into his motives.
As I said, Emma and Adam's romance is relatively predictable until Mark enters the picture. I liked the way that Mark bridged the gap between Emma and Adam's story and Clara and Peter's. The two couples provided an interesting contrast, which means that the reader never gets bored with one storyline as the book switches between the two fairly equally. Although the primary romance is one that's been done many times before in this genre, I did really love Adam's character, and I wanted him to win Emma's heart simply because of how caring and genuine he seemed. Strangely enough, I actually found him a lot more realistic and sympathetic than Emma. The same can be said for Peter and Clara; while I loved Peter's patience and wisdom (not so common among male Amish characters) I found myself getting frustrated with Clara after a while. It's not common for a writer to make me connect with male characters over the female ones, so Treasuring Emma surprised me with this.
Ultimately, I was pleased with how most of the storylines worked out. It was encouraging to see Adam realising that he needed to make things right with God before he fixed matters with his family, community and Emma. The issue of Adam's faith was never overbearing and seemed very natural. I was also pleased to see how his relationship with Emma concluded, just as I was with Clara and Peter. While I'm sure that both couples still have a lot to work on, the ending was open but optimistic. I'm intrigued to see where Mark's storyline goes, and hope that it is wrapped up later in the series, since his plot was the only one that I felt needed more attention.
I've read a lot of great Amish books lately, so Treasuring Emma was up against some stiff competition. Although it wasn't quite as original as some of my favourites in this genre, I did find Kathleen's writing to be very compelling and easy to read. Some characters were less convincing and sympathetic than others, but as Treasuring Emma is part of a series, I hope that this is something that will be improved upon in the next book, Faithful to Laura. 3.5*
Emma Shetler doesn't know if she'll ever get used to losing those she loves, first her father three years ago, now her mother to cancer and in between, two years ago, the love of her life Adam Otto walked away to go live among the Englishers. She did still have her beloved grandmother, her father's mom, and her sister Clara, who she didn't get along with very often, and her family. Leona, her grandmother, and Emma have piles of medical bills to pay along with the expense of keeping the farm up, her horse, Dill, is lame and can't pull her buggy. Things don't look good, the bills just seem to keep piling up.
Unbeknownst to Emma, Leona has written to Adam to let him know about Emma's mom and to tell him that there is something wrong with his mother. She isn't sure what, but she thinks it would be a good idea if he came to check up on her. Adam does come to Middlefield against his better judgment, when he left it was not on good terms with his dad, but he had to see his mom for himself.
To say the least, Emma is surprised to see Adam and even more surprised when she finds out it was her grandmother that asked him to return. He tries to help her by checking on Dill and anything else she needs, she refuses any help. She's afraid to let herself get used to having him around only to have him leave again. Clara dislikes Adam even more than Emma, she has contempt for him.
After the funeral Peter King, Clara's husband, invites Emma and Leona to move in with them. This irritates Clara because they can't afford two more mouths to feed. Peter's been out of work for a long time, their pantry is about empty and they only have two bedrooms, one for their two boys and baby Magdalena was still in their bedroom.
When Peter's cousin Mark shows up on their doorstep she gets mad that Peter asks him to stay on with them. She'd just explained things to Peter about their situation, as if he didn't know, but since he's family Peter feels he has to offer. Now Peter, Clara, Junior, Melvin & Magdalena were all in one bedroom. Mark soon befriends Clara though and backs her up about an idea to turn her grandfather's wood shop into a yarn and fabric store. Emma strongly disagrees, that would mean selling her grandfathers tools and she couldn't stand losing all the memories after just losing her mom.
Even though Adam is back and trying to be her friend again and help her around the farm, Emma knows he'll leave soon. Clara doesn't trust Adam and thinks it might be a good idea for Mark to get to know Emma, after all he's family and Adam isn't. Adam doesn't trust Mark, Mark doesn't like the way Adam acts around the family, and Emma really wants nothing to do with either of them.
When Emma's grandmother gets sick and has to stay in the hospital for two weeks a lot of things happen around the farm, some very devastating things. You will want to find out for yourself.
I really enjoyed this book, it always interests me when people leave the Amish and have to come back home when they are under the bann. I have seen banned people treated different ways and it's interesting as to why they left in the first place and what their feelings are once they return.
I purchased this book because I received the second one in the series, Faithful to Laura, to review and I think it's so much better when you can read the books in order. I will say that I'm looking forward to reading the second book and I'm not telling you how she fits in the first book.
It was very interesting, The author was descriptive of the characters and the surroundings. I felt like I was actually there in the book. My compliments to the author--I would definitely enjoy reading more of her books.